Film / TV

trevor noah’s gran is the mvp of his journey home

December 4, 2018

The historic nature of Trevor Noah’s appointment as Daily Show host is, in a way, overshadowed by the journey he took to get behind that desk. The comedian used his latest trip to his home of South Africa to bring Daily Show cameras into the world he grew up in, punctuated by a heart-warming interview with his grandmother.

Soweto is South Africa’s largest and most infamous township as it served as a powder keg for racial unrest during the apartheid era. It was and still is home to Noah’s 91-year-old grandmother Nomalizo Frances Noah, who shared stories about Trevor’s childhood as an energetic and naughty child unaware of the implications of his identity being considered a crime. That fact never stopped his mother and grandmother from letting him be a child, depicted by some adorable baby pictures that Noah’s grandmother in her house.

Nomalizo is a ball of light, dropping effortless jokes between sobering stories of life under an apartheid government. It’s clear that the mix of humor and thoughtful reflection that has become Trevor’s brand of funny runs through the Noah bloodline. Trevor’s grandmother confirmed the apple indeed does not fall far from the tree as his own mother was also a little rebel who grew up to break barriers as a manager — a job level not associated with Black people at the time.

It’s a beautiful interaction and I miss my own grandmother dearly just watching it. If Nomaliza Noah ever makes it on a plane to the United States, she would be a Daily Show guest for the ages.